Since I wrote ‘6 Website features you should check’ to help you make sure your business website is up to date and relevant, I have added to that list.
Tall Tartan Talks here … Whether you are a new or established freelance business owner, it is important to show prospective clients or fellow colleagues that you take your professionalism seriously.
Nowadays that means having a website. Your website should reflect your services, specialisms and strengths.
Features in Part 1
In case you missed it, this is the list of features I explained in Part 1:
- Contact email address
- Contact form
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar
- Copyright date in the footer
- ‘I’ rather than ‘we’
- A photo of you, the business owner.
Following recent learning, keen to make my website as efficient as possible before starting a marketing campaign to attract new clients, I commissioned a fellow freelancer (a WordPress expert) to do a review. An MOT, if you like. I am grateful for the many tips she recommended.
So, in addition to the above list, I recommend these features:
- SSL certificate
- New tab settings
- Broken links
- Error 404 message
Go on, look again … Open up a new tab and work through my list.
How to fix
1. SSL certificate
You are researching a topic and click on a website link. It opens. You notice that the padlock on the top left of the website URL (address) is missing. It appears with the message ‘Not secure’.
Some URLs start with http:// while others start with https. Maybe you noticed that extra ‘s’ when you were browsing websites that require giving sensitive information, like paying bills. But where does that extra ‘s’ come from and what does it mean? If your website is missing that extra ‘s’, it could put off potential clients.
SSL means Secure Sockets Layer. This means protocol for web browsers and servers that allows for the authentication, encryption and decryption of data sent over the internet.
Previously, your website host charged to install it. Now it is very easy to get a SSL certificate from your website host for no charge. It is offered as a free feature to activate. Have a look at yours.
2. New tab settings
Adding content to your web pages might include a linking to another page of your website, eg Contact page with a hyperlink, or even a link to another website you are recommending.
Remember to go into your settings and tick the ‘Open new tab’ option. Activating this will open that link without losing the web page they were on and having to deploy the Back button.
It’s a worse user experience if you end up somewhere completely different from where you were expecting. You want users to stay on your website. The default setting on websites should be to automatically open a new tab, but they aren’t always.
To stop unexpected openings happening to me when I am browsing, I right-click on the link to open the menu. Click on the top option ‘Open new tab’ in case it hasn’t been activated on the website. Ta-dah!
3. Broken links
If a visitor to your website receives an Error 404, there is an error loading that page, or a page link is broken. A quick and easy way to check that you’ve minimised this problem is to check that the links in your website work. Just google ‘broken links’ – you’ll find a selection of website tools to choose from.
When I checked I found many broken links. Aaargh! It seems I had tweaked and moved my pages around my website muchly over the last couple of years; I hadn’t checked that links still worked. They do now!
4. Personalise 404 page
Have you tried personalising your Error 404 plug-in? Thanks to another freelancing colleague for that tip. If you feel creative you could take your branding all the way through to the pages that break.
You hope that visitors to your website won’t ever see the Error 404 message, but if they do, they will still see you, your personality and your message, with a link that you’ve placed there redirecting them back to your homepage.
Interested in branding? Read my blog post on my branding process.
Up to date now?
To repeat my message from Part 1 of ‘Website features you should check’, maintaining your website will show clients and colleagues that you are a trustworthy professional.
If you need help with your website, please ask. If I can’t help you, I know someone who can.
Remember, your website is your shop window. Is it honest? Does it work efficiently? Does it represent you and your business?
Here is the link to the posts on my Blog page to read more. Use the Subscribe button so you don’t miss my blogging about running a business, education, proofreading and editing.